Best of Worst of Part II

Keeping it going with the Best of Films.

In my opinion, the world of Movies, just like almost all other forms of art, has lost much more than it has gained since the computer became an intregal part of the process.  There have been some great, truly amazing films done with the help of computers but…a lot of nonsense gave up the story for the sake of special effects and CGI computer graphics.

Lord of the Rings.
One film(s) that truly mastered the integration of effects and story was Peter Jackson’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ 
(however, in my armchair, back seat driver director’s cut, Liv Tyler and ever scene she is in gets left on the editing room floor) 

The Count of Monte Cristo
Very few films based on a well know (or not so well known) piece of literature actually get it right.  My only complaint again was the romantic element.  The Count doesn’t get the girl in the written version but Hollywood just couldn’t accept that. 

While the original film is the best of the bunch, all of the series is spectacular film making.  Stallone achieved with the first Rocky something  that most can only dream of … numerous Oscars for an (almost) first time actor.  Written by the man himself, Stallone made a film which relied on
almost no set, no effects and a cast that while recognizable, where not A list actors.  Finishing with the final installment Rocky Balboa which was a
treat for anyone who loved the series.  INSPIRATIONAL.

 The Fisher King
What can I say?  I love this film.  It’s not a serious film as is my style but Robin Williams is over the top hysterical.  Still,  it won a ton of awards.

Tender Mercies
The Academy award winning ‘Crazy Heart’ with Jeff Bridges isn’t half the film as Tender Mercies, the film it basically copies.  I still can’t understand why Robert Duvall, who gives an amazing performance here, bothered to get involved in the rip-off.


The Matrix Trilogy

Ok.  The first film was genius.  So much so that I consider it as important a work as 1984 in convincing the younger generations just how social engineering created the societies we live in today.  Sadly, the regenerated, regurgitated, revoluction and rematch or reload or whatever parts 2 and 3 were so horribly bad and the Trinity / Neo relationship so LAME that this series just lost all momentum.  Effects beat out story. 

The Batman / Dark Knight Trilogy.

This is not Batman.  This is overdone, overblown, drawn out and inflated.  While the Tim Burton / Michael Keaton franchise that ended with the ludicrous George Clooney installment of Batman was just badly done, it was for all purposes a bunch of comic book movies.  The DK series bored from the get go with over-long films that took themselves much too serious.  Christain Bale and his Darth Vader interpretation of Batman was a reboot for….those who need it dumbed down and who never liked comics in the first place. 

Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace
Oh, my god.  This was by far the worst film I’ve ever had the unfortunate experience of getting ramped about.  With all the hoopla about the revisted first trilogy after the BOOM that was the Star Wars phenom in my childhood, this was just intolerable crap.  There is no excuse for nor forgiveness for Ja Ja Binks.  SHITE.

Aside from the real  star of this flic (the ship itself) the only thing that could have possibly redeemed this dog would have been if they had sunk Celine Dion to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico (where it was filmed)

A couple of other dishonorable mentions have to be the third installments of the Spiderman and X-Men franchises.  What were they thinking (smoking)?

As you can see across the board, my tastes have little  or nothing to do with the millions made… in other words the acceptance by the majority of the population is  a pretty good indication  that something stinks.  But hey, that’s just me.

Going to do the  best /  worst of TV in the coming days.

David Gordon Burke

Stats – To Date

All about Amazon’s new Sales Dashboard.

Amazon has  a new sales dashboard that allows you to track your sales, see how much moolah you are due etc.  It is a lot easier to keep track sales but for a bottom wrung writer like myself, can also be pretty painful to see just how LITTLE you earn for your hard work.

That said, it is also a great tool for planning your marketing strategy.  I realize that I have really lost out on sales because neither of my serious books ‘A Rose by Any Other Name’ nor ‘Lobo’ have ever been enrolled in the KDP plan.  That’s ok.  I am planning a major PROMO BLAST in the near future but I’ve wanted to get as many titles uploaded as possible.  Plus, in the meantime I have gotten some really good reviews up for LOBO which will help a lot when the moment arrives.

To date I have sold 166 books worldwide (not counting the few copies I sold at Smashwords … I’m not with them anymore).  I have also given away about 600 copies of my English book so no, not taking the world by storm but still, not to bad so far.   

With a little luck I will get two or three more titles finished in time for my PROMO BLAST which will last one week for each title I give away.  One free book a week. 

The trick is to drive your title up in the AMAZON ranking to the point where it starts to get noticed.  The ranking doesn’t take into account whether the book was paid for or was given away.  The more freebees, the more sales. 

Of the 166 books sold so far I can only say that the possibility of this turning into a retirement plan is REMOTE.  The cash payout may not come for another year or two. 

David Gordon Burke

The Best of the Best – The Worst of the Worst

How about doing something different today? 

Since I haven’t any news related to my imminent success as an INDIE writer, why not a list of the best of and worst of all things. 

Let’s start with books. 
Here’s my top five.
1.  The Count of Monte Cristo

2.  The Border Trilogy

3.  Lonesome Dove

4.  Pistoleer

5. The Stand

It is a complete coincidence that more than half of these BEST OF books are in the Western Genre.  It just happens that my favorite writers tend toward that style.  And YES, I am cheating since between The Border Trilogy and The Lonesome Dove series of book there are SEVEN books so go figure.
Along with The Count of Monte Cristo I would have to add ANYTHING by Dumas including the Three Musketeers and that series. 
The Stand by Stephen King.  Not my favorite writer but The Stand may be his best piece of work. 

The Worst 5.
The Davinci Code, Angels and Demons and Infierno by Dan Brown
Anything by James Patterson
The Shimmer by David Morrell – One of my  favorite writers – his  worst. 

1.  If you don’t know Steve, you haven’t lived.  Here, his first post prison release.  AWESOME.  Tie this one in first place with Steve’s Copperhead Road or his tribute to Townes Van Zandt -  Townes.  All essencial albums. 

2.  Dreamboat Annie / Little Queen - Heart.  Either one of these ‘Classic Rock 70s Masterpieces’

3.  Physical Graffitti – Led Zep (or anything else by the greatest Rock band ever)

4.  DJ play my Blues – Buddy Guy

5.  Paco de Lucia – Antologia

and I almost forgot….as a bonus and ‘you just cannot live without a copy of this album . the following.

The Worst? 
Any craze that went viral on Youtube and was then forgotten in 25 minutes.
Any music created soley by a DJ with a  computer.  Electronic noise.
95% of pop music for the last 20 years.  Most dance music since the end of the disco days. 
Anything by any artist that has reached ICON status and that we have all heard a million times.  Hotel California, Beatles, Stairway to Heaven, I shot the sherriff, Mustang Sally etc. 

So there you have the first part of my best of worst of.  Might keep it going tomorrow with TV and Movies.

David Gordon Burke

We’re Back in Business

It’s gratifying to know that someone actually reads this blog.

For what it’s worth, I try to be my witty self and add in a the tidbits of knowledge and experience that I pick up along the way in this journey of Self-Publishing and Ebook sales.

You may have noticed that I was away last week.  Thanks to the IMSS which is the Mexican Institute of Social Security, I was able to take the week off work due to my health issues.  It turns out I may be off work for the better part of 2014.  I have 12 weeks of treatment and then a medium operation – (bigger than wisdom teeth, smaller than a heart transplant) then I should be home free to clean living and good health.

This has unfortunately put some of my blog and Ebook plans on hold. 

I’m still working toward getting the Mexican Mutts volume finished soon and then publishing all three books in print via Creatspace -
A Rose by Any Other Name
Mexican Mutts Tequila Pups and Chili Dogs

If I play my cards right that should take me to mid-August.  By then I should be well into the next Novel.   What that turns out to be, no one knows.

So that’s the update portion of today’s blog. 
Let’s get on with part 2 – THE RANT.

1.  I am so sick of Mexican television.  Someone please NUKE MULTIMEDIOS TELEVISION in Monterrey, NL. 
2.  I am so sick of the current spree of violence related to the gang wars and cartels. 
3.  Could we please put to death all those people who enjoy, create and promote music that is created by electonic means?  boom, boom, boom, boom is not music. 

Ok.  Rant  is finished. 

David Gordon Burke

What’s up?

For anyone interested, I’m on sick leave from work where I do most of my blogging.

I don’t know how long this will go on – Possibly till next Monday, possibly longer.

Being sick is terrible.  Hope to never do it again.

Will inform.

Thanks for the positive vibes.

David Gordon Burke

Productivity is WAY DOWN!

I guess everyone has to have priorities in life.  Right now, my priority is HEALTH. 

I got a scare this last January – anyone who drops by this blog regularly might have seen posts from Feb. 15th from Doctors Hospital here in Monterrey, Mexico.  I was in for surgery.  Sadly, the surgery didn’t cure the problem and since then I have been in therapy.  This is going to continue for the next few months and then I will have yet another surgery which the Doctor’s assure me is the last.  I will be cured.

I haven’t come out and explained what my condition is since it is a private matter.  Let’s just say that I was extremely lucky.  Smoking is the cause of my misery.  That should tell you all you need to know. 

God in his wisdom (yes, I am a Christian and believe in God) looked down upon me and realizing that I was HOOKED on cigarrettes to the point that nothing was going to get me off them, he gave me a little scare.  Better the curable MESS that I have now rather than Lung Cancer five years down the road.

So you can see, I have been somewhat distracted.  My latest WIP Mexican Mutts, Tequila Pups and Chili Dogs hasn’t progressed as quickly as I had hoped.  I am not in a creative headspace. 

I have been doing a lot of other work – specifically getting Lobo and A Rose by Any Other Name ready for print release via Createspace.  I’m also slowly finishing another installment of Ingles al Poder de Tres.

I will keep plugging away.  I hope to work up to a major turning point around the time I am in recovery from my next surgery.  With any luck I’ll be managing my PROMO BLAST while working on a new novel by then.

David Gordon Burke
PS.  No graphics today.  .blog isn’t working.

Here Comes the Weekend

Ok.  Enough procrastinating.  This weekend I have to get down to brass tacks and make some progress on my latest project. 

I’ve been highly undermotivated and flip flopping like a fish out of water.  It’s not that the project doesn’t interest me, it does.  But there are a couple of issues holding me back.

The first is the CURSE of the INDIE writer.  After you do all those other chores like design covers and blog and format etc. you have very little energy left for the actual writing. 

The second is a bit of self doubt about the last story in the collection.  Since I decided to write first person from the point of view of a REAL PERSON who will undoubtedly go on to READ the story…well that’s a bit daunting. 

I’ve decided to just do it as if it were fiction and I hope I don’t write anything to offend. 

Anyway, that’s it.  This weekend it’s guns blazing full steam ahead until I make some breakthrough. 

It’s a dirty job but someone has to do it.

David Gordon Burke

Ain’t that just a fine How do you do?

There isn’t much to report.  I have a full plate of life which hasn’t left a lot of room for writing.

But….every time I get one of these life obstacles out of the way it opens up the possibility for me to be writing a lot more very soon. 

My other blog at wordpress is getting a new installment every day which means SOMEONE out there is getting a free English class every day.

Books are selling at an average of 1 per day.  That means about $0.35 to $0.50 to me per day.  Nothing to write home (or a blog) about but….it’s a start.  Imagine if I had 100 titles.  I am doing this with FOUR possible books spread over two distinct markets.
1.  Fiction / Non-fiction stuff for people who like to read about dogs.
2.  English language instruction for Spanish speakers. 

Pretty slim markets and niche areas.  Got to widen my range.

Meanwhile, Mexican Mutts Tequila Pups and Chili dogs is slowly taking shape.
The Real Taco Cookbook is getting an overhaul.
The next two installments of Ingles al Poder de Tres are in production. 

The Promo Blast is still on the drawing board. 

Something has to give.  Got to reach critical mass soon.

David Gordon Burke

Progress Report – What I’m working on Now.

After a few setbacks I’m moving forward with my next projects. 

This is all leading up to a huge PROMO BLAST but the exact date when I start that is still unknown.

These are the challenges I have to take care of before the PROMO BLAST.

1.  Finish my current WIP – Mexican Mutts, Tequila Pups and Chili Dogs.
2.  Prepare LOBO, A Rose By Any Other Name and Mexican Mutts for print editions on Create Space.
3.  Finish the Real Taco Cookbook.
4.  Finish the current Ingles al Poder de Tres editions.
5.  Start work on my next projects (Novel)
6.  Finish my current round of treatments (medical) and schedule my surgery.  (my last thank God) 

So these issues could run up to two months before it all gets taken care of.  New covers are needed.  Editting.  Etc. 

I think this is the make  or break point.  The first nudge of the snowball from the top of the mountain.  Let’s see how much momentum I can get going on that first big push.

Meanwhile, I am deal with an issue on the Spanish version Amazon.  A really bad review has all but ended my sales there.  Sad since the book sells for less than 1 EURO – admittedly there are probably a few grammatical issues with my written Spanish – but since it is a book for teaching ENGLISH with tons of vocabulary and some great insights on the structure of the English language, how much of a rip off could the book be?  Is this person saying that the book is of no value, no value to him or that he will ignore the book’s value since it isn’t in pristeen perfect Spanish? 

I don’t think this person wants to learn English at all.  Thanks for nothing pal.  Pinches gallegos hijos de la chingada por eso nadie los quiere.

David Gordon Burke

Book and Film Recommendations

Once in a while I like to get away from my own little world and talk about those oh,  so, rare books and movies that I have enjoyed recently that are inspirational.  Yesterday I saw this film which was a revelation. 

I’m all about anything that exposes the corruption and nonsense of life in Mexico.  It is what it is.  There is more truth in this film’s 2 hours than I have seen in years.

Another awesome flic.

Derbez has done 2 movies along these lines – La Misma Luna and Instructions not included.  Neither one is half the movie this is.  The illegal experience in the USA.

Life in Mexico city.  The crime, corruption and conspiracy.  Awesome.

And my book recommendation.  For the aspiring writer or anyone who wants to write correctly.

That’s my post for Monday.  Have a great week.

David Gordon Burke